Why do people scam others, especially during the Christmas season? Yesterday, December 21--end of the Maya calendar day--I received a call from a group that identified itself as Preferred Guests.
Usually, I don't even answer when I receive a call listed as "private" on my caller ID. When I realize it's a telemarketer for certain, I say "thank you, not interested" and hang up. This time I didn't. After all, I am a travel writer and wanted to learn more about this 10 night deal that included four days and three nights in Orlando with two adult passes or a one week economy car rental. This deal also included four days and three nights in Daytona Beach or Ft. Lauderdale. And, then, I was told we would get five days and four nights at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica. That would cost $99 per person but would include all meals and drinks.
Okay, this sounds interesting, but I do not trust cold calls. And rightly so.
I was told that I had to accept or decline this offer right then, and she wanted to know what credit card I'd be using for the $498 to pay for this deal. When I told the young woman that I never give my credit card number to strangers calling on the telephone, she said, what is it you don't like? Is the amount too much or does it sound too good to be true?
I said it sounded too good to be true and, even if it weren't, I'm not willing to give out my credit card number. Could she just please send more information in the mail? I asked. She said, "Just a minute, let me find out something." Then, she switched me to another woman who proceeded to ask me for my credit card number. When I refused, she asked the same questions about the amount being too much or was it too good to be true? Once again, I said that I never give out my credit card information to someone calling me about a deal.
Then I told her I write travel articles and am always interested in learning about travel destinations and opportunities. I also said I write blog posts and might like to write about this call.
There was silence and a click.
I've read about people losing a lot of money giving their credit card information to fraudulent companies. If this was not a scam, it certainly had the appearance of one. Especially since she hung up on me.
I did not like it that the caller said I was contacted because I am a timeshare owner. I would hate to think that any of the timeshare people I trust would have a part in a scam like this one.
Why are these people allowed to continue with these calls? What have your experiences been?
--Mary Montague Sikes